Homeless youth need more than emergency shelter or free meals to help them exit homelessness. A stable, productive future is unattainable without an education.
Employable job skills. Career opportunities. And permanent supportive housing.
A new fashion streetwear brand by homeless & LGBTQ youth is focused on making apparel with a purpose. Featuring designs by six young people who created pieces representing their identities and perspectives.
Portland-based nonprofit, New Avenues for Youth, helps support youth through counseling, meals, and career services. It launched the dfrntpigeon program in 2016. As a way for these young people to express themselves through visual arts.
Arts getting it done for our young people.
This nonprofit's job-training program connects their young people with mentors. Employable job skills. Freelance opportunities. Careers in graphic design.
"Our products aren't just fashion," says Sara Weihmann, Director of Social Purpose Enterprise for New Avenues for Youth. "They're powered by a larger social mission to help marginalized youth find a path to success, exit street life, and challenge the perception of youth homelessness."
One of the youth interviewed stated, "Art helps keep me stable-ish".
This homeless youth project is creating jobs. Teaching employable job skills. That can lead to housing and emotional stability.
And these homeless & LGBTQ youth have ownership over the entire process. That is invaluable at such a young age. Making that transition from youth to young adult.
The nonprofit project focuses on 3 fundamental areas of young people's lives:
1. Basic Needs & Safety
2. Education & Career
There is an alternative school for those disconnected youth to obtain their GED/high school diploma. In 2015, New Avenues was proud to send 29 new students off to college.
There is a project that specifically targets youth aging out of the foster care system so they are able to transition into independent, stable housing.
Their community job partners exclusively hire their youth. Eliminating competition that might leave a young person without experience unemployed.
Youth have options of either short-term employment (1-3 months). Or long-term employment (9-12 months). Depending on the position, individual, and available opportunities.
Youth employed build confidence as they learn employable job skills. Customer service. Cash handling. Managing coworker conflict. Simply learning how to show up to work on time.
Upward mobility. Promotions to management. Career development. Peer training. Mentoring.
The project clearly articulates results through measurable outcomes. This strategic investment has shown to positively impact the employment future careers of the over 250 youth who participate each year.
By 2020, the nonprofit organization aims to double the number of youth they serve each year. Change the trajectory of the lives of those young people. And the next generation.
What a get-it-done homeless youth project.